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Three Dog Night

Three Dog Night is the story of three less-than-successful Hollywood based singers (Danny Hutton, Chuck Negron and Cory Wells) who banded together and were backed by a talented and creative band. Hutton came up with the idea of three singers - a fairly conventional line-up in Soul and R&B - but he was the first to put it in a Pop/Rock context. It turned out to be a brilliant idea. The band's run from '69 to '74 was phenomenal.

Wells, Negron and Hutton all had recording contracts and had released singles that had gone nowhere. Hutton had the added distinction of auditioning for The Monkees TV show and being rejected. Individually they came up short but united they gave the group an unmatched vocal dexterity and muscle to turn just about any song into a hit. The group created propulsive arrangements and had the musical chops to pull it off. In other words, it wasn't just the three singers.

The ultimate covers band, Three Dog Night cleaned up, simplified and sanitized Soul, R&B and even Rock for a Pop audience. What put them over the top was their uncanny song selection. They didn't write many songs (none of their hits) but covered some of the best songwriters around - including an up and coming Elton John (and Bernie Taupin). They also recorded songs by Hoyt Axton ("Joy To The World") and Randy Newman ("Mama Told Me (Not To Come)").

Not writing your own songs was a risky move in an era when that was a requirement for credibility. And Three Dog Night was roundly criticized for not having the creative wherewithal to pull it off. But it wasn't really an issue as long as the hits kept coming.

"Joy To The World" was their biggest hit and most obnoxious song. However, the group did produce some good Pop/Rock with "One," "One Man Band" and "Play Something Sweet (Brickyard Blues)."

Three Dog Night Discography

1968 Three Dog Night
1969 Suitable For Framing
1969 Captured Live At The Forum
1970 It Ain't Easy
1970 Naturally
1971 Harmony
1972 Seven Separate Fools
1973 Cyan
1974 Hard Labor
1974 Joy To The World: Their Greatest Hits
1975 Coming Down Your Way
1976 American Pastime
1983 It's A Jungle
1995 Celebrate: The Three Dog Night Story 1965-1975

Top 20 Singles (and highest chart position)

One #5
Easy to Be Hard #4
Eli's Coming #10

Celebrate #15
Mama Told Me (Not To Come) #1
Out in the Country #15
One Man Band #19

Joy to the World #1
Liar #7
An Old Fashioned Love Song #4
Never Been to Spain #3

The Family of Man #12
Black & White #1
Pieces of April #19

Shambala #3
Let Me Serenade You #17

The Show Must Go On #4
Sure As I'm Sittin' Here #16

Three Dog Night was a singles band. "Celebrate: The Three Dog Night Story 1965-1975" hits all the high points and provides some early demos and solo releases by Wells, Hutton and Negron. Their best studio album is "Suitable For Framing" with "Celebrate" and the raving "Eli's Coming."

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